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Fancy spending a few nights in a beautifully restored horsebox? Well, now you can…

We all know horseboxes can have luxurious living areas, but if you want a slightly different stay away then Bertha, the lovingly restored lorry now being advertised as an airbnb, is for you.

The advert suggests visitors for a Herefordshire holiday are sure to find something they love on a visit, “whether  you want to trot into town, jump into the River Wye or canter to the nearest pub”.

Of course, true luxury involves kicking the horses out, so the whole horsebox space has been given over to human accommodation – including a king size bed on the luton, a fold out double bed down below, a fully fitted kitchen, woodburner, sofa, Wifi and smart TV. The bathroom is in the adjacent trailer, including a walk-in power shower. The advert says Bertha can sleep four adults, but is best-suited to two adults and children.

Ally Hunter Blair bought Bertha in March 2018.

“I did all the dismantling and wrecking, but required someone with more talent to rebuild it,” explains Ally, who sent Bertha to Aconbury Shepherd Huts for her refit.

“It involved totally gutting the lorry and rebuilding – a new roof, new walls, full insulation, as well as fitting a kitchen and woodburner. It took longer than we expected as nothing was straight or square!

“Then I had the crazy idea of fitting a bathroom in a horse trailer, bought from 10 miles down the road. Again the lack of space made this a little trickier than I thought, but we got there!”

Bertha was ready at the end of March this year, but Covid-19 led to the cancellation of her first bookings. She went back online on 1 July and Ally created a Facebook page for her too.

“The reaction has been unbelievable,” he says. “The Facebook post has been seen by over 400,000 people and within a week she was fully booked bar three nights in July and August. We are totally blown away.”

Bertha’s first airbnb review describes her as “beautifully converted” and the bathroom as “absolutely amazing”. The guests said they even cooked a roast dinner in the tiny oven.

Bertha might well be on the path to fame, but Ally is already something of a celebrity, although he modestly denies this.

“We’ve filmed a few series here – First Time Farmers series 1 and 2 for Channel 4 and last year Born Mucky: Life on the Farm for Quest. I’ve also done a little bit of presenting for the BBC on mental health in agriculture,” he says. “The TV work is fun, I love promoting the agricultural industry as best I can and showing off the beautiful surroundings we get to call work.

“We were filming the 10-part series Born Mucky: Life on the Farm during Bertha’s build and she was one of our stories.”

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And if you like to take your horse on holiday, Ally has good news for you.

“We’re hoping next year to offer stabling for horses while you stay in Bertha,” says Ally. “My wife Annie is a freelance riding instructor and Bertha is situated up next to our riding arena and among the horses paddocks, so she fits in nicely.”

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